Understanding the Gap of Reading Performance between ELL and EOL Children from Low-Income Families in Elementary School Years

Hsin-Hui Lin, Liping Wei


This study explored reading development in low income children of English Language learners (ELLs) from kindergarten to the fourth grade. Data used in this study came from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011 (ECLS-K: 2011). A sample size was 3,451 students below the poverty threshold. The independent variables were the indicators of home language and gender. The six dependent variables were students’ reading item response theory (IRT) scale scores in the fall and spring semester of the kindergarten year and all the spring semesters from the first to the fourth grade. Six full 2-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) models were used for the statistical analyses. The results found there is a gender difference in children’s reading performance, with female doing slightly better than male students. The low-income children’s performance in reading IRT scores has shown differences among the three groups. The English Only Learners (EOL) had the highest mean scores throughout the five years. The group of Multilingual Learners (ML) and English Language Learner (ELL) group had mixed results of the second or lowest scores among these three groups. Among the six subgroups the EOL female had the highest mean scores throughout the five years.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22158/jecs.v3n4p423


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